See also:♩ Romantic composers
José de la Cruz Mena was born in Leon, on May 3rd 1874. His parents were Mr. Yannario Mena and Mrs. Celedonia Ruiz. He began studying music with his father, from whom he learned to play the “cornetin”. In 1888, when he was 16, he joined the “Banda de los Supremos Poderes” of Nicaragua. This band was directed by Mr. Alexander Cousin (Belgian origin).
Later he traveled to Honduras, where he joined a band directed by Mr. Manuel de Adalid, from whom he learned to play the “baritono”. However, short after he moved to Honduras, the band was closed and Jose de la Cruz decided to try luck in San Salvador.
In San Salvador, he joined the “Banda de los Supremos Poderes” (Band of the Supreme Powers, the official band of the country) of that country, under the direction of Mrs. Henrich Dreus.
Because this band was under a military regime, medical examinations took place periodically. It was during one of these medical checks that they discovered the first signs of leprosy in his body.
After the devastating news, he returned to Leon, Nicaragua. At the age of 22 he had completely lost his sight. During this period, he began composing. His best composition is the “Ruinas” Waltz, with wich he won the Floral Games “Juegos Florales”, clebrated a few years before his death.
He died, at the age of 33, on September 22, 1907.
(Contribution by <ivaniavegagmail.com>.)